Jul 05

Happiness levels in mainland China, Taiwan, Hongkong, …

Written by DJ on Saturday, July 5th, 2008 at 7:05 am
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Many of the headlines have focused on Denmark being ranked the happiest country in the world after a U.S. funded global survey was released at the beginning of this week. So where are the Chinese people ranked? And what about the two countries often used for comparison/contrast with China (i.e. Russia and India)?

Rank, Score, Country/Region
48, +1.83, Taiwan
54, +1.64, mainland China
63, +1.16, Hongkong
69, +0.85, India
89, -1.01, Russia

Note: a negative value means a majority of the population being unhappy. And remember, these are just statistics…

[Updated to provide some details of the study]

The full list of all countries/regions ranked can be found here. It is produced by a study led by University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehart based on data collected at World Values Survey, which is directed by him.

The data is collected by asking two questions:

  • Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?
  • All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?

It is claimed that 350,000 people were queried over the last 26 years all over the world. The results of the questions were weighted equally to produce the score measuring people’s happiness.

I cannot find much more about the methodology used in the study, which is “to be published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science”.

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11 Responses to “Happiness levels in mainland China, Taiwan, Hongkong, …”

  1. ZT Says:

    I believe drugs are legalized in Denmark that may be the reason for the euphoria. Maybe Holland is second, eh?

  2. DJ Says:


    Nice guess, but wrong. Puerto Rico is the second and Columbia follows at the third. Someone did remark somewhere that Columbia has ample supply of drugs…

    Don’t ask me why those two made to the top three. Like I said, these are just statistics.

  3. ZT Says:

    One thin I have observed in 66 years of life is that poor people are generally happy. Is it because they don’t know any better or are we so called “intellectuals” missing something?

  4. yo Says:

    Actually, there are other studies to suggest that money does not equate to happiness. I’ll be honest, I can see why that can be so but it’s hard for me to accept it. Last time I checked, being rich doesn’t suck.

  5. Buxi Says:


    Have you found the actual link for this article? I’m very curious about the methodology!

    I know that survey after survey have found the mainland Chinese to be the most optimistic about their future of any country on this planet… but to be honest, I’m surprised so many mainland Chinese are already so “happy”. 🙂

  6. DJ Says:


    I added some details to the post to answer (some of) your questions.

  7. ZT Says:

    where is Cuba?

  8. DJ Says:


    World Values Survey is funded by the U.S. I wonder if it is allowed to survey in Cuba.

  9. Daniel Says:

    I don’t quite understand how credible such studies are. These type of studies depend on the state of mind of the individuals at that time and opinions can changed in many ways. However, it would be nice to know I admit but I wouldn’t mark it as one of those absolute pieces of information.

  10. raffiaflower Says:

    A colleague who was based in Beijing once visited Harbin and saw a group of middle-aged women happily dancing in a park (or doing taiqi or something).
    He was obviously foreign, from his grooming and one of the women came to talk to him out of curiosity
    He chatted with her about our country, which is relatively wealthy, and our abundance.
    She listened with interest but before leaving, she said politely: “We are poor but happy.”
    It’s all comparative. If you start from a place where people were little more than property of the state, you will be happy because you have no longer living a caged life and have freedom to exercise certain options.
    But if you live in a country where almost everything can be yours for a price, then the restlessness of the constant quest for the newer and shinier leaves an empty space where the heart should be.
    Again it leads us to the Western fixation with Tibet as their own paradise lost before they sold their own souls to materialism.

  11. yo Says:

    “Again it leads us to the Western fixation with Tibet as their own paradise lost before they sold their own souls to materialism.”

    lol, that’s a good one 🙂

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